Aquatic therapy is a type of physical therapy that takes place in a pool or other aquatic environment. It involves using the buoyancy and resistance of water to facilitate movement and exercise, making it an ideal therapy option for individuals with a wide range of physical limitations. How this differs from traditional physical therapy is you have less resistance due to gravity but provides reduced resistance in multiple directions. This allows for the increase in stabilizing muscle strength for your joints – particularly for the shoulders and knees. Those injuries can occur in anyone from athletes to everyday people. Rise Above Physical Therapy happens to be one of the only physical therapist offices which has access to a pool for aquatic therapy in the Lowcountry, not to mention the only one in Summerville, South Carolina. And with the area growing as fast as it is, that really says a lot. With Summer on the horizon, who doesn’t want to spend some time in the pool? It’s a great way to work on helping yourself recover from injuries while cooling off. In this article, we have the top ten reasons why you should ask your doctor about trying aquatic therapy!
- Reduced impact on joints and bones
One of the most significant benefits of aquatic therapy is the reduced impact on joints and bones. In the water, the buoyancy of the body reduces the amount of stress that is placed on the joints and bones during exercise, making it a safe and effective therapy option for individuals with conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or joint pain. This is especially important for older adults who may be more vulnerable to falls and fractures. Additionally, the water’s hydrostatic pressure can help to reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints, further improving joint health and reducing pain. As a result, aquatic therapy can help individuals with joint and bone conditions to improve their mobility, reduce pain, and improve their overall quality of life.
- Improved muscle strength and flexibility
Aquatic therapy is an excellent way to improve muscle strength and flexibility. The unique properties of water provide resistance to movement, which can help to increase muscle strength. This resistance is especially useful for individuals who are recovering from an injury or surgery and need to rebuild their strength gradually. The buoyancy of the water also provides a low-impact environment that reduces stress on the joints, making it an ideal option for individuals with arthritis or chronic pain. Additionally, the resistance provided by the water can be adjusted to meet the needs of individuals with varying levels of strength and fitness, making aquatic therapy a versatile option for rehabilitation and fitness.
Moreover, the buoyancy of the water can help to improve range of motion and flexibility in individuals with limited mobility. This is because the water’s buoyancy reduces the force of gravity on the body, which makes it easier to move and stretch. Individuals who have difficulty moving on land may find that they can move more freely in the water, allowing them to perform exercises that may not be possible on land. This increased range of motion and flexibility can help to improve overall mobility and quality of life for individuals with disabilities, injuries, or chronic conditions. In combination with other therapies, aquatic therapy can be an effective way to improve muscle strength and flexibility, helping individuals to reach their rehabilitation and fitness goals.
- Reduced pain and inflammation
Aquatic therapy can be an effective way to reduce pain and inflammation. The warm water used in many aquatic therapy sessions can help to soothe sore muscles and joints. Additionally, the water’s pressure can help to increase blood flow, which can reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Increased cardiovascular endurance
Aquatic therapy can also help to increase cardiovascular endurance. The unique properties of water provide a low-impact environment that is well-suited for cardiovascular exercise. The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact on joints and bones, allowing individuals to exercise for longer periods of time without experiencing discomfort or pain. The resistance provided by the water also offers a cardiovascular workout that can be adjusted to meet the needs of individuals with varying fitness levels. This means that even individuals who are not able to perform high-impact exercises on land can still achieve the same cardiovascular benefits with aquatic therapy. In addition, the water’s hydrostatic pressure can help to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body, further enhancing the cardiovascular benefits of aquatic therapy. As a result, individuals can work out at a lower intensity while still achieving the same cardiovascular benefits as land-based exercise, making aquatic therapy an effective option for individuals looking to improve their cardiovascular health.
- Improved balance and coordination
The resistance of the water and the need to maintain balance while in the pool can help to improve balance and coordination. This is especially important for individuals who have suffered from a stroke or other neurological condition.
- Reduced stress and anxiety
With all the traffic in the Summerville and Charleston areas in South Carolina, it’s stressful just to take the kids to school or to get to work. Aquatic therapy can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. The calming environment of the pool can help individuals to relax and focus on their movements, which can be especially beneficial for those with conditions such as anxiety or depression. Aquatic therapy can also help you gain or regain confidence in yourself by realizing that your goals are achievable in a fun and relaxing environment.
- Rehabilitation for orthopedic injuries
Aquatic therapy can be an effective form of rehabilitation for orthopedic injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures. The buoyancy of the water reduces the stress placed on the affected area, allowing for gentle movement and exercise. The resistance provided by the water can also be used to strengthen the affected area without causing further damage. Studies have shown that aquatic therapy can be an effective form of rehabilitation for individuals with lower extremity injuries, such as ankle sprains and knee replacements.
- Improved respiratory function
Aquatic therapy can also be beneficial for individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The warm, humid environment of the pool can help to open up the airways and improve respiratory function. The resistance provided by the water can also be used to increase respiratory muscle strength, which can lead to improved breathing function and endurance.
- Enhanced mental health and well-being
In addition to the physical benefits, aquatic therapy can also have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. The soothing environment of the pool can help to relax you, leading to improved mental health. Additionally, the social aspect of aquatic therapy, such as group exercise classes, can provide a sense of community and support, which can also be beneficial for mental health.
- Safe and effective for all ages and abilities
Aquatic therapy is a safe and effective therapy option for individuals of all ages and abilities – assuming you have already spoken with your doctor. The low-impact nature of the water makes it an ideal option for individuals with physical limitations, while the resistance provided by the water can be adjusted to meet the needs of more advanced exercisers. Additionally, aquatic therapy can be an effective therapy option for children with developmental disabilities, as it provides a fun and engaging environment for therapy.
In conclusion, aquatic therapy is a versatile and effective therapy option with numerous benefits for individuals recovering from injuries or managing chronic conditions. Its benefits include reduced impact on joints and bones, improved muscle strength and flexibility, reduced pain and inflammation, increased cardiovascular endurance, improved balance and coordination, reduced stress and anxiety, rehabilitation for orthopedic injuries, improved respiratory function, and enhanced mental health and well-being. So, whether you are a marathon runner or a weekend warrior and you are interested in aquatic therapy, be sure to call Rise Above Physical Therapy in Summerville, S.C. at 843-719-7473 and check with your doctor to see if it is a good option for you.